Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ. (Galatians 1:10)
Every action I take is inspired by some sort of motivation. I run on a treadmill most mornings to keep in shape or rather get back in shape. When I am working I want to give my best to help provide for my family. When I make a meal for my family I want it to be special, memorable, and the best meal they have ever eaten. These are some of the motivations behind my activities. As Christians our actions on a daily basis should have a very specific motivation behind them. All of our actions should be designed to please God and not men. I would like to look at three unique people in the New Testament, and examine their motivations behind their actions.
John, the Baptist, preceded Jesus. In the first chapter of Mark we are introduced to a man living in the desert. He is wearing clothes made of Camel’s hair, and he is eating wild honey and locusts. John is preaching a baptism of repentance of the forgiveness of sins, and that The Savior is coming. People came in groves to see this wild, crazy guy in the desert to become baptized. I step back and wonder about his motivation for choosing this type of life? Why does he live in the desert, eat bad food, dresses worst, and preaching a message that is making others very angry? The reason is John was trying to please God, and not men. John knew his role was to prepare the way for the Savior. If that meant he would dress funny and live in the desert so be it if that meant pleasing God. John was willing to do whatever it took to please God.
Jesus is constantly being mentioned in the gospels in the company of others. He was always preaching to large crowds, feeding five thousand people, or just hanging out with his twelve disciples. Jesus was a rock star, and everyone wanted to be around him. His rock star status makes the choices of some of his friends very unusual. Tax collectors in the day of Jesus were hated individuals. They often cheated people for their own gain. No one liked the tax collectors. However, Jesus chose two to be part of his ministry. Matthew was a tax collector, and Jesus chose him to be a disciple. Jesus also chose to eat dinner at the house of Zacchaeus. People could not understand why Jesus would eat dinner with such a low life. Jesus’ motivation was from God, and not from man. His motivation was to bring Zacchaeus to a place of salvation for him and his family. Jesus did not worry what other people thought about his decision. His actions were directed by a consuming desire to please His Father in heaven.
Peter was Jesus’ right hand man. Peter was the one to follow Jesus, and walk on the water. Peter was the one who cut of the ear of the servant trying to capture Jesus outside the olive grove. Peter was motivated by God to do amazing actions most of the time. However, Peter was motivated by man to deny Jesus. After Jesus was captured, Peter was warming himself by the fire in the courtyard of the high priest. Here he denied he knew Jesus three times. He was motivated to remain warm, and alive rather than be thrown in jail. He bowed to the motivation of men rather than rising to stand for God. When Peter came to grips with what he had done he ran out of the courtyard, and repented.
Today we will face many opportunities to act one way or another. Our choices will be based upon what motivates us. If our motivation is to please men then we will lead very empty lives. If we choose to please God our lives will be rich and full of joy. Choose to please God in everything you do today. Make your desire to please Him the motivation behind every one of your actions.